XXIX. (162) There is also a festival on the day of the paschal feast, which succeeds the first day, and this is named the sheaf, from what takes place on it; for the sheaf is brought to the altar as a first fruit both of the country which the nation has received for its own, and also of the whole land; so as to be an offering both for the nation separately, and also a common one for the whole race of mankind; and so that the people by it worship the living God, both for themselves and for all the rest of mankind, because they have received the fertile earth for their inheritance; for in the country there is no barren soil but even all those parts which appear to be stony and rugged are surrounded with soft veins of great depth, which, by reason of their richness, are very well suited for the production of living Things.{20}{sections 163û174 were omitted in Yonge’s translation because the edition on which Yonge based his translation, Mangey, lacked this material. These lines have been newly translated for this volume.} (163) The reason is that a priest has the same relation to a city that the nation of the Jews has to the entire inhabited world. For it serves as a priest–to state the truth–through the use of all purificatory offerings and the guidance both for body and soul of divine laws which have checked the pleasures of the stomach and those under the stomach and [tamed] the mob [of the Senses]{21}{there is a clear problem with the text here, i.e., the noun ochlon lacks a verb.} by having appointed reason as charioteer over the irrational senses; they also have driven back and overturned the undiscriminating and excessive urges of the soul, some by rather gentle instructions and philosophical exhortations, others by rather weighty and forcible rebukes and by fear of punishment, the fear which they brandish threateningly. (164) Apart from the fact that the legislation is in a certain way teaching about the priesthood and that the one who lives by the laws is at once considered a priest, or rather a high priest, in the judgment of truth, the following point is also remarkable. The multitude of gods, both male and female, honored in individual cities happens to be undetermined and indefinite. The poetic clan and the great company of humans have spoken fabulously about them, people for whom the search for truth is impractical and beyond their capability of investigation. Yet all do not reverence and honor the same gods, but different people different gods. The reason is that they do not consider as gods those belonging to another land but make the acceptance of them the occasion for laughter and a joke. They charge those who honor them with great foolishness since they completely violate sound sense. (165) But if he is, whom all Greeks together with all barbarians acknowledge with one judgment, the highest Father of both gods and humans and the Maker of the entire cosmos, whose nature–although it is invisible and unfathomable not only to sight but also to perception–all who spend their time with mathematics and other philosophy long to discover, leaving aside none of the things which contribute to the discovery and service of him, then it was necessary for all people to cling to him and not as if through some mechanical device to introduce other gods into participation of equal honors. (166) Since they slipped in the most essential matter, the nation of the Jews–to speak most accurately–set aright the false step of others by having looked beyond everything which has come into existence through creation since it is generate and corruptible in nature, and chose only the service of the ungenerate and eternal. The first reason for this is because it is excellent; the second is because it is profitable to be dedicated and associated with the Older rather than those who are younger and with the Ruler rather than those who are ruled and with the Maker rather those things which come into existence. (167) For this reason it amazes me that some dare to charge the nation with an anti-social stance, a nation which has made such an extensive use of fellowship and goodwill toward all people everywhere that they offer up prayers and feasts and first fruits on behalf of the common race of human beings and serve the really self-existent God both on behalf of themselves and of others who have run from the services which they should have rendered. (168) These are the things they do for the entire race of human beings. On the other hand they give thanks for themselves for many things. The first is that they are not perpetually wandering here and there among islands and continents and like foreigners and those without a permanent abode who have settled the lands of others and occupy others’ wealth are reproached since they have acquired no portion of land from lack of means, but have acquired a land and cities and for a long time have been in possession of their own inheritance, for which reason it has been a sacred duty for them to offer the first fruits. (169) The second is that they did not receive a worthless and common land, but a good and fertile land both for the breeding of domestic animals and the abundance of unspeakably great crops. For there is no poor soil in it, and even the parts that seem to be stony and hardened are broken up with soft and especially deep veins which because of their richness are good for crop production. (170) In addition to these things, they did not receive a desolate land, but one in which there was a populous nation and great cities abounding in men. Yet the cities were emptied of their inhabitants and the entire race disappeared except for a small part: some as a result of wars and others as a result of divinely sent attacks because of their new and strange practices of wrongs and all of the impieties they used to commit through their great efforts to demolish the laws of nature. These things happened so that those who replaced them might be sobered by the calamities of others, and learn from their deeds that those who become devotees of evil deeds will suffer the same fate but those who have honored a life of virtue will possess their assigned portion, numbered not among emigrants but among the native residents. (171) That the first fruit is a handful for their own land and for all lands, offered in thanksgiving for prosperity and a good season which the nation and the entire race of human beings were hoping to enjoy, has been demonstrated. We should not be unaware that many benefits have come by means of the first fruit: first, memory of God–it is not possible to find a more perfect good than this; then, the most just recompense to the real Cause of the fruitfulness. (172) For the things which occur as a result of agricultural skill are few or none at all: to build up furrows, to dig and spade all around a plant, to deepen a trench, to cut off excessive growths, or to perform any similar task. But the things which come from nature are all essential and useful: the most fertile ground, a land well-watered by springs and both spring-fed and seasonal rivers and sprinkled with annual rains, mild temperatures of air moved by breezes which are most conducive for life, countless types of crops and plants. For which of these has a human either discovered or engendered? (173) Nature which has engendered these things has not begrudged a man its own goods, but considered him to be the governing part of mortal animals because he has a share in reason and good sense. She therefore chose him on the basis of his merit and summoned him to participate in her own goods. For these things it is right that the host, God, be praised and admired since he sees to it that the truely hospitable earth, all of it, is always full of not only the necessities but even of the things which make for a luxurious life. (174) In addition to these things, we should not fail to pay our regard to benefactors. For the person who is thankful to God who needs nothing and is selfsufficient, will also make it a habit to be thankful to humans who are in need of how many countless things. And there are many meanings intended by this offering of the first fruits. In the first place they are a memorial of God; secondly, they are a most just requital to be offered to him who is the real cause of all fertility; (175) and the sheaf of the first fruits is barley, calculated for the innocent and blameless use of the inferior animals; for since it is not consistent with holiness to offer first fruits of everything, since most things are made rather for pleasure than for any actually indispensable use, it is also not consistent with holiness to enjoy and partake of any thing which is given for food, without first giving thanks to that being to whom it is becoming and pious to offer them. That portion of the food which was honoured with the second place, namely, barley, was ordered by the law to be offered as first fruits; for the first honours were assigned to wheat, of which it has deferred the offering of the first fruits, as being more honourable, to a more suitable season.